A possie in Aussie

September 14, 2009

Which goods are produced by children and slaves?

Filed under: 457 visas — Nayano @ 8:03 am
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(I am breaking my own rule here, because this item is not about maginalised migrants- but I felt it was too important not to publicise as widely as possible. And, indeed, the Australian 457 visa has come dangerously close to producing forced labour Chinese slave labour in Australia )

Change.org reports that the US Department of Labor has released a document about goods that are produced by slave labour- and more goods were found to be made with child labor than forced labor. List of slave-made goods

The most common goods which have significant incidence of forced and/or child labor are cotton, sugarcane, tobacco, coffee, rice, and cocoa in agriculture; bricks, garments, carpets, and footwear in manufacturing; and gold and coal in mined or quarried goods.

Here are some of the worst offenders for forced labor or slavery:

Bolivia: nuts, cattle, corn, and sugar

Burma: bamboo, beans, bricks, jade, nuts, rice rubber, rubies, sesame, shrimp, sugarcane, sunflowers, and teak

China: artificial flowers, bricks, Christmas decorations, coal, cotton, electronics, garments, footwear, fireworks, nails, and toys

India: bricks, carpets, cottonseed, textiles, and garments

Nepal: bricks, carpets, textiles, and stones

North Korea: bricks, cement, coal, gold, iron, and textiles

Pakistan: bricks, carpet, coal, cotton, sugar, and wheat

Note: This doesn’t mean all goods from that sector in that country were produced with exploitation.


August 11, 2009

Australia on trial in first Southeast Asian Court of Women

The first Southeast Asian Court of Women on HIV and Human Trafficking is being held in Bali. More than 20 Southeast Asian women have narrated their personal stories of exploitation and abuse.

I have been concerned about the 457 visa because, whatever controls the government may put in place, the worker is still beholden to the employer, and therefore reluctant to speak out Chinese slave labour in Australia

The stories sometimes do emerge, but most wait until they are out of the country.

Danton Remoto of ABS/CBN News reports the story of a Filipina woman exploited while on a 457 visa in Australia:

“Amalia was a call-center agent in Manila who wanted a better life for her child, who has learning difficulties, and herself. She was being beaten up by her husband, so she left him and raised her child alone.

“She applied for work in Australia as a Restaurant Duty Manager on a 457 visa. Her sister told her that it was a lopsided visa, since she could work for only one employer, her sponsor, and could not leave even if they were maltreating her. But she did not listen to her sister.

“She flew to Australia, only to discover that she is more of waitress and janitor than manager of the restaurant. She stayed in a cramped apartment with three other Filipinas and had many mysterious deductions in her paycheck. When she and her fellow Filipinas banded together with the help of Migrante and Buhay Foundation and asked for better treatment and just wages, the restaurant management fired them, citing the economic crunch as a reason.

“She returned to Manila and has filed a case against her employer, speaking out against the ills of not getting full information about the contract, culture and context of one’s foreign employment.” Filipina workers testify in Southeast Asian Court of Woman

August 4, 2009

Rudd sweetens unions with 457 visa hints

Filed under: 457 visas,Immigrant workers — Nayano @ 8:19 am
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‘Curbs on the use of 457 visas’ was one of the carrots thrown by Rudd to the manufacturing and construction unions at the ALP conference last weekend. Rudd seeks long-term reform era

July 29, 2009

Indian women liberated by passing English test

The blogger at Faint Voice tells us that there is ‘a quiet revolution in the status of women in deep rural, backward caste and poor Punjab. Girls who in past were not sent to school would now look forward to getting preference over boys in being sent to school, given time off to house work to study and even in getting precedence in meal times.’

And Australia can take credit!

No, not another aid program – this time it is the IELTS (International English Language Test System) that is transforming lives of these women.

“While before the IELTS became the goal the lives of these girls was quite one of being second class citizens to the boys in the family.”

A good level of English as tested by the IELTS is the key to almost every Australian visa (except humanitarian and family visas).

And once you have a work or study visa, you are on the path to the prize of Permanent Residency.

Faint Voice says “the goal of citizenship pushes the youth out of rural India, at least in Punjab and Haryana, and they have been very enthusiastic in making it to Canada and UK. Australia is only recently emerging as a favourite”.

What has changed in the case of Australia is the vigorousness with which Australia has sought students and their fees. Study in Australia: “a recognised immigration racket”

July 27, 2009

Imposters. Secret documents. That’s the Australian visa business

Staff of Australia’s largest international student service, IDP Australia, are being investigated for possible corruption, after some students in were caught cheating on English exams.

Erik Jensen of the Sydney Morning Herald writes-

“A source in the Sydney Indian community said education agents had been selling copies of the May International English Language Testings System exam for between $12,000 and $18,000.

“He said advance copies of the exam had come from inside IDP Australia, a company owned by 38 Australian universities in partnership with the job site Seek, and were being sold throughout Sydney.

The Department of Immigration relies on IDP Australia for English testing.

IDP has confirmed that several students have been caught defrauding the system, and the that  an investigation was under way to determine whether staff inside the service had been involved.

“Cheating in IELTS tests is not commonplace,” a spokeswoman for IDP Australia said. “However, given the high stakes involved, attempts to cheat or engage in other fraudulent activity such as identity fraud do occur.

“Recently in Australia, a small number of test takers have been detected in their attempt to cheat in the IELTS test. Whether or not it was an internal problem, we don’t know.”

The Aussie Possie recently reprinted a report from the Punjabi Tribune that claimed impersonation and document fraud among people sitting for the IELTS exam there. Punjabi marriage proposal: “I love your English!”

The Immigration department has recently raised its standard of English for work visas, from “a partial command” to “competent” English.

The Herald article reports that Immigration and Citizenship Minister Chris Evans is in India “dealing with the fallout over recent violence against Indian students and the uncovering of large-scale document fraud and economic slavery inside the $15 billion international education industry.” Cheating alleged in immigration exams

July 23, 2009

Meatworks’ protesters are people, not work units

July 19, 2009

Immigration: The Human Cost

Filed under: humor,humour,Immigrant workers — Nayano @ 7:46 am
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Yes, it’s Sunday – and it’s Funday once more- and they are still taking our jobs!

Warning ! Close your eyes and block your ears for the first 6 seconds and last 26 of this video – the aussiepossie does not endorse this message 😉

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Immigration: The Human Cost“, posted with vodpod

July 7, 2009

Native-born Australians steal jobs

Who is taking all our jobs?
WE are!

Australian employers have mainly restricted the economy-wide job losses to migrant workers, and Australian-born workers have been shielded from the worst of the global recession.

The Australian says that Australian-born workers dropped 22,000 full-time jobs in the 12 months to May but picked up an extra 74,500 part-time jobs for a net gain of 52,500 positions.

By contrast, migrant workers lost 37,100 full-time jobs, offset by 21,600 extra part-time jobs for a net loss of 15,500. Job slump hits migrants most

Head off anti-immigrant rhetoric- tell all your friends!

June 8, 2009

Workers on 457 visas are real people, not just a line on a balance sheet

The editorial in the Adelaide Sunday Mail this week says:

“People migrating here on the promise of a job need some certainty the position will not evaporate; if it does, surely there needs to be some flexibility to allow them to find a comparable job. After all, the decision to migrate is a huge one. If such people are going to give a commitment to Australia, Australia needs to ensure they are treated fairly once they arrive.” Migrants need more than a visa

An editorial about the ‘disgraceful’ situation that the Chinese meatworkers who came to Australia nearly 4 years ago on 457 visas find themselves in?

Is the Sunday Mail lamenting that, while the Chinese closed down their lives in China, took the 457 visas because they were informed that they would be a path to Permanent Residency, that path has been effectively closed to them, and they are under threat of having the new lives they and their children have built ripped out from under them? Chinese checked


The subject of the hand wringing is a specialist tax consultant recruited by accounting firm KPMG. From Britain.  Who bought a house. After four months the tax consultant was made redundant and the terms of the visa require that she has 28 days to leave the country.

As the Sunday Mail says, “We are actively trying to lure skilled migrants” and “this sort of disastrous episode would have to make any potential migrant think twice about trying to start a new life here”.

Does the Mail mean “We are actively trying to lure skilled white migrants”?

Are meat working jobs too dirty and distasteful to worry about? Not ‘skilled’ enough?

Does having the funds to buy a house when you first arrive qualify one for sympathy?

To rephrase the Sunday Mail closing remark,

“All workers on 457 visas are real people, not just a line on a balance sheet”.

May 13, 2009

Budget ’09: Only independent skilled get the cut

Immigration in the Budget

  • The independent skilled migration program will be reduced to a total to 108,100 places.
  • The employer-sponsored and government-sponsored visa programs will remain uncapped
  • The Critical Skills List will remain as a guideline for assessing independent applications for Australian skilled migration.
  • Skilled trade occupation applicants who do not have a sponsor will need to score at least a 6 in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (out of a possible high score of 9) instead of the previous level of 5
  • As already planned, the humanitarian program will be increased by 250 places to 13,750 people in 2009-10 and the special humanitarian program will be lifted by 750 to a total of 7750 places.
  • More than $75 million to improve detention administration and policy procedures includes greater access to welfare support, legal advice and health services for people held in detention
  • More than $650 million for an extra surveillance vessel and two aircraft
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